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castle in Europe

Everything You Need to Know About River Cruises through Europe

Published: 5/27/2020

Home to medieval castles that have inspired movies about powerful kings and queens who have made their mark in history, famous ports where buildings appear to be floating on the water, and lush landscapes that impress visitors with their vivid hues of emerald green, Europe is a vacation destination where the true explorer can go absolutely wild with all of the adventures there are to be had.

Editor's Note: Like the rest of the world, Avoya Travel is keeping a watchful eye on COVID-19 travel regulation updates from trusted officials. Although we can’t cruise the rivers of Europe now, it’s still okay to dream about future travels. This article is the perfect place to spark your wanderlust for when we can travel again. For those who are ready to book for future sailings, you can find low rates and special perks going on now!

Sail down some of its most popular rivers like the Danube, Main, and Rhine in the comfort of an extravagant river cruise ship and be prepared to see a side of Europe only few get to experience in a single voyage.

With smaller ships that can navigate tighter waterways, vacationers get more value for their money.


Unlike with traditional vacations where you reserve a hotel room and depend on car rentals and public transportation to get around to all of the sites you wish to explore, a cruise along Europe's scenic rivers will allow you to casually explore the places you really want to see without having to worry about how you are going to get there...and then back to the hotel once you are ready to retire for the day.

Boutique-style cruise ships offer an intimate travel experience, since most river cruise ships only accommodate around 100 passengers as opposed to ocean cruise ships that can hold several thousand passengers at a time.

With a smaller passenger to crew member ratio, the staff aboard boutique cruise ships are better able to focus their attention on you and cater to your needs.

While sailing the rivers of Europe, you will have the opportunity to see and do more, as these smaller ships can navigate through narrow waterways and get to ports that their larger ocean cruise ship cousins simply can't.

If you're the type of traveler that likes to immerse yourself into destination, than a river cruise would be you a much better value than an ocean cruise for you.

Your journey will take you off the beaten path and to destinations many travelers only dream of seeing.

Interested in Taking Your First River Cruise? Here are Some Expert Tips to Help You Get Started

1. Do some research before finalizing your itinerary to ensure you select a ship and cruise package that suits your needs. Each cruise ship is unique and offers its own entertainment, dining options, and amenities.

Wine tasting in Porto? Sight-seeing in Budapest? Biking in Amsterdam?

No two cruise itineraries are the same and you should choose one that pulls into ports at the cities you really want to see and offers land tours you want to participate in; it is your journey, make the most of it.

2. Decide what countries in Europe you want to visit. The rivers of Europe run through many of the best landmarks on the continent and can be visited all during one sailing. The places you have your eye on will be a big factor in the itinerary you select.

3. Whether you have a European destination in mind or you are not sure yet, be sure to browse our itineraries or call us directly to get connected with a Vacation Planner in the Avoya Travel Network.

As there are many options and choices, we believe it's helpful to receive a Vacation Planner's expert advice to make the best of your vacation.They can help you take advantage of exclusive deals and save a lot of money on your vacation.

Extra Hint: Wave Season, which occurs from January 1st through March 31st, is the best time of year to book your journey as most cruise lines slash the prices on their vacation packages to fill their rosters for the Spring and Summer sailing months.

It helps to work with someone who specializes in the ins and outs of cruise planning. You will be faced with many decisions during the booking process, like making onboard specialty dining reservations, deciding upon what room service options you want, and the lodging options that are available.

All the dazzling details can overwhelm those who are new to taking a cruise. The good news is that your entire package will come with one final price tag, making it a stress-free way to see the world.

Best River Cruises offered in Europe

Sail down the Rhine or Danube Rivers on a fun-filled river cruise and feast your eyes on some of the most beautiful scenery that Europe has to offer.

Not only will travelers get to check out all the sights while aboard the ship, but there are various docking areas along the way where the adventure continues onto the mainland. Here is a look at some of the best river cruise lines in Europe:


Proudly showcasing ships with cutting edge technology and sleek designs AmaWaterways knows how to show guests all of the beauty of Europe while keeping them comfortable with luxury accommodations.

Related: AmaWaterways Offers Free River Cruises to Frontline Heroes

Aboard these lavish boutique cruise ships, guests will visit vibrant European cities such as Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Vienne, and Avignon and all the natural beauty in between.

Guests aboard can relax on the sky deck, savor authentic European cuisine that is inspired by the ports you visit and enjoy social time in the community lounge.

Enjoy one of the many 7-night journeys offered by this cruise line.

Uniworld River Cruises

Hop aboard one of the cozy and ambient cruise ships offered by Uniworld River Cruises and sail away to luxury vacation hot spots such as Amsterdam, Bordeaux, Macon, and other exciting cities.

Uniworld RIver Cruises

Uniworld River Cruises has a fleet of 21 cruise ships that are loaded with all the fine amenities you crave.

Relax at Sky Lounge with a signature cocktail in hand or take your seat in the ship's 3D movie theater while you wait to pull into the next river port city.

Viking River Cruises

Book a fun European vacation with Viking River Cruises and have access to some of the most popular cities without having to coordinate all of the travel arrangements!

Viking River Cruises

Viking's boutique river cruise fleet sails to destinations such as Budapest, Vienna, and Nuremberg while you kick back enjoying the beauty along the Danube River.

With floor-to-ceiling cabins in the staterooms, gourmet restaurants to dine at, and wrap-around sun decks to lounge at, the river boats in this fleet roll out the red carpet for guests.

Crystal River Cruises

Offering an assortment of lavish activities and amenities to keep guests relaxed and entertained while sailing down the Rhine or Danube River, Crystal River Cruises treats everyone like a special VIP.

This cruise line offers several 7-day cruise packages that take visitors to popular European destinations such as Amsterdam, Cologne, and Vienna while being entertained with expert wine tastings, gourmet dining, and liver performances along the way.

This cruise line offers a variety of 7-day European excursions.

Avalon Waterways

Offering all-encompassing 13 to 15-night cruises to the hottest destinations in Europe, Avalon Waterways does not hold back when it comes to showing guests a good time!

Sailing to renowned European ports such as those in Paris, Rome, and Avignon, guests aboard Avalon's boutique ships are in for a real treat from the moment they step aboard.

The ships in this fleet feature luxuries such as open-air balconies, floor-to-ceiling stateroom windows, the Sky Deck, and gourmet dining options.

Which European River Cruise Line is the Best?

While all European river cruise ships offer award-winning amenities, delicious restaurant options, and scenic getaways that are worth experiencing, Crystal River Cruises is voted one of the best in European river cruise reviews from previous passengers.

This cruise line has a fleet of four boutique ships that provide service to rivers throughout Europe.

Onboard these ships, guests are treated to world-class amenities and the best possible service. The interior of these ships are decked out in cozy decor in neutral colors that promote rest and relaxation.

The staterooms are spacious and feature floor-to-ceiling windows that look out over the water. No matter which stateroom you choose, your reservation comes with daily butler services, lavish toiletries, and plush Italian slippers and robes.

Each room is fully furnished plush bedding and seating areas, with private bathrooms and shower areas. Guests can nestle into their beds with complimentary nightly turn down services and watch some TV on a razor-thin flatscreen.

By day, the ship will pull into various ports of call and you will have the opportunity to explore noteworthy cities and embark on daily excursions with your travel group or on your own.

Many of the port activities are even included in the purchase price of your cruise package, allowing you to relax and fully immerse yourself in the experience.

From Budapest to Amsterdam, guests receive the royal treatment when sailing aboard a Crystal River Cruises boutique ship.

Related: 5 Things You Didn't Know About River Cruising

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